Cork selector Eamonn Ryan: ‘I couldn’t speak more highly of this group’

Eamonn Ryan

The conversation lasted no more than two minutes. Eamonn Ryan didn’t take much convincing.

Having been part of Peadar Healy’s outgoing management team, Ryan wasn’t expecting to hear from new boss Ronan McCarthy last August. And when the call did come through from the man Ryan had coached during his successful stint overseeing the Cork minor footballers in 1991, there was no hesitation in agreeing to the request to remain on board for a new campaign

I just love being involved. There is nothing more profound than that,” said the Cork football selector.

“At times, you have to sit back from results and admire the dedication of fellas, their skill level and commitment. I couldn’t speak more highly of this group of fellas.

“You wouldn’t say they make sacrifices because I don’t think it is a sacrifice. No one makes us come here. It is up to ourselves. If we all drop dead tomorrow morning, the show will go on.

“At the same time, the players make a lot of difficult choices. They forego a lot of stuff and I admire that in them. It is a great way for a young person to be and to spend their younger years. It is great for an old fella, too, to be still able to come and be involved.”

Thirty-five years have elapsed since Ryan coached the Cork seniors when Tadhg Murphy’s late goal halted Kerry’s bid for nine Munster titles in a row.

And it’s been 51 years since he lined out at corner-forward on the afternoon of Cork’s All-Ireland final defeat to Meath.

The game has changed immeasurably over the decades, but he’s slow to hit out at football’s current state.

I wouldn’t be a doom-or-gloom merchant about how football is played nowadays. It has evolved. People are using all sorts of systems to keep the opposition’s scoring down and then try and pick off a score above. I can understand why people do that.

“They come up with a system which they think will suit them and like anything in life, you have to do it the way that suits you, so I am slow to condemn other teams or the game in general.”


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